It was my first meeting of GA. This is not AA. It is not NA. It is GA...Grinches Anonymous.
"Please stand up and introduce yourself," I was urged.
"My name is The Happy Guy, and I am a Grinch."
The room fell silent. People looked at one another. Finally, a little old lady spoke up: "Isn't that a conflict of interest?"
It's true. The Grinch is not generally seen as the most jovial of fellows. And I am The Happy Guy. But I had to face the truth. I am a Grinch.
Oh sure, I don't have furry, green skin. And I can't seem to twist my face into that diabolical grin, no matter how hard I try. Not even with a plunger, a blow torch and a stapler - but that's another story.
"Tell us, please, what makes you a Grinch," the moderator urged me.
"I just seem to spoil everybody's Christmas. People ask what I want for Christmas, and I can't think of anything."
The room fell silent again. People looked at one another again. Finally, the same little old lady spoke up: "You mean I can have your Christmas presents?"
It was hard to believe, but when somebody asks me what I want for Christmas, I can't think of anything.
At that moment, I just don't want anything. I always seem to have enough. In fact, I always seem to have more than I need. I have over a hundred music CDs, but when was the last time I played most of them. I've given away more books than I've read, and I've read more than I have.
We have a special machine just to make waffles. And one just to make popcorn. Both of them make prize-winning dust bunnies. And we have a machine just to make bread, which we at least use to make pizza dough. We have glasses and bowls that I would never recognize and some clothes in which I would not want to be recognized."Why does that make you a Grinch?" the moderator asked.
"I make it difficult for them to give. What I really would like is for somebody to come and take things away."
The room fell silent once more. People looked at one another yet again. Finally, that little old lady passed me a notepad: "Mind jotting down your address for me, sonny?"
My wife suggested socks. Got'm.
Batteries? There's an idea. Put me down for batteries.
Cologne? Here are the bottles from the last two years. One of them is open.
Isn't there anything I want?
"Why not ask if they have any ideas you could consider?" the moderator suggested.
"You mean, like being a consultant on how to give things to me?" I asked.
The room fell into another silence. People looked at each other yet another time. The little old lady said: "Just refer them to me. I want lots of things."
Why would anybody want more stuff to clean, more stuff to break, more stuff to fix, more stuff to store. I don't even know where to put last week's dirty dishes.
If people keep buying gifts when you already are storing more things than you could ever use, sooner or later you would be crowded right out of your house. Sa-ay, there's an idea.
"Couldn't you humor them? Just a bit?" the moderator wondered.
"Actually, I know one thing I want...a chalet in Switzerland."
The room fell into its habitual silence. People looked at one another, as usual. The little old lady jumped up: "My bags are packed. When do we leave?"
I think I'll ask for a GA membership in my stocking this year.
The author is David Leonhardt. Sign up for his weekly humor column or read his personal growth articles. Or visit his home page: Happiness and Self-actualization.